Jack Wills founder Peter Williams is to exit the business following a bust-up with its private equity owner BlueGem.
Williams, who opened the first Jack Wills shop alongside friend Rob Shaw in 1999, is finalising the terms of his departure, according to The Sunday Times.
Jack Wills has been hit by the fall in the value of the pound, which has made its clothes more expensive to source from Europe and Asia, while it has also suffered from a push into wholesaling, leaving cash tied up in stock held by other retailers.
The financial pressures have reportedly sparked clashes between Williams and BlueGem, and led the owners to line up former Debenhams trading director Suzanne Harlow as Jack Wills’ new boss.
Williams’ impending exit would mark his second departure from the business he created almost two decades ago.
He stood down back in 2013, at a time when Jack Wills was being tipped for a £500m IPO.
But the brand faltered and Williams returned as chief executive in 2015 after his successor, Wendy Becker, left the business.
Williams joined forces with BlueGem to buy out former owner Inflexion in 2016, but his stake was reduced to a minority holding as part of the deal.
BlueGem is now in the process of organising a £20m refinancing of the preppy fashion business and is expected to inject £10m of new equity, alongside an additional £10m of debt from hedge fund Searchlight Capital.